Questions Answered by Michael Hales

Q: Is it illegal to create and sell shirts that say "Engorgio" (a spell) and have the deathly hallows Harry Potter symbol?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Copyright for Idaho on
Answered on Apr 11, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
You're probably fine with the word engorgio, but once you include any symbols from Harry Potter, you'll run afoul of trademark laws.

Q: I bought a laptop from facebook, they advertised that it had 16 gigs of RAM when it only had 4.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Idaho on
Answered on Mar 28, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
You might want to bring a small claims action against them if it's worth the time.

Q: I have 2 years left on a Mexican time share with an annual maintenance fee of $ 575.00 US and I stop paying it ?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law on
Answered on Mar 27, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
I've seen a few timeshare companies in Mexico get aggressive when it comes to past-due maintenance fees. The typical method is to hire a collection agency and report the delinquency to the credit bureaus. I wrote a bit about this recently and you can access my article here: https://skidmorehales.com/article

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Q: Do we have any days in which to cancel a contract for a timeshare, signed yesterday in the state of Virginia.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 26, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
Yes, I believe you have 7 days to cancel a timeshare signed in Virginia. Check your contract for exactly how to cancel and make sure you follow the procedure exactly. Speak with an attorney if you have any questions.

Q: We are Canadian selling our timeshare to Mexican travel agent. Do we send initial notary costs to Profeco as advised?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
Goodness no! This is a common scam to have you wire money. No such requirements exist to transfer a timeshare in Mexico. Once you send it, the money is gone and you probably won't be able to get anything back. I wrote an article about these types of scams a while back that you can access here: https://skidmorehales.com/article

I hope that helps, but let me know if you have any questions.

Q: Can a Timeshare Association rent a unit in foreclosure process? If so does the rental $ go to association or owner?

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
In Florida, the answer is yes. Under most association bylaws, the revenue generated from the sale will likely go to the homeowners' association. Let me know if you have any follow up questions.

Q: Is price fixing illegal in Tennessee?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Answered on Jan 29, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
Although I'm not a TN attorney, I imagine that this is simply one of the terms of use for selling on the website, taking this outside the realm of price fixing. Your parents can sell it for $1 (and can advertise elsewhere for that price), but they can't list in on the website for that amount.

A while back, I wrote an article about timeshares for my state bar that you may find helpful. You can access it at: https://skidmorehales.com/article

Q: If I receive a 1099-A representing a loss of $13k for ditching a timeshare can I claim this as a loss? Will it help me?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 17, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
I'd be wary of any attorney that tells you this. I've practiced law in Florida for many years and when I've helped clients get out of a timeshare, they will often receive a 1099 when the timeshare cancels the loan/mortgage. However, if the loan that was cancelled was $13k, the form will also report that the value of the timeshare surrendered back to the timeshare company was worth $13k, meaning that the transaction is tax neutral. There are a lot of timeshare scams out there that spread...

Q: Can I get my brothers social security money if my mother refuses to help support him?

1 Answer | Asked in Social Security for Idaho on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
The easiest thing to do in this situation is go to your local social security office and start the process there. You may need to involve a lawyer to challenge your mother as payee for your brother, but I'd start with the local office and ask for their assistance first.

Q: I was curious if a timeshare contract can be changed if the original contract was with another company?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Texas on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Michael Hales' answer
Small timeshare resorts are often purchased by larger companies that seek to bring the new owners into compliance with their general policies. They can typically do this so long as the new ownership terms are not seriously different than those accepted when you signed your original document. Of the changes you listed, I think your first (changing how you are charged) may be the biggest issue and may allow you to cancel or find other relief. However, it will be impossible to know without...

Q: I need help with a timeshare I signed up for on 11/19/18. I live in MI and was on vacation and Thanksgiving w. family.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Dec 11, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
All states require the recession period to be in writing. I wrote about this an article for my state bar over a year ago with some tips that you and your attorney may find helpful. You can access it here: https://skidmorehales.com/article

It also has some advice on how to avoid the myriad of timeshare scams. Best of luck and please let me know if you or your attorney have additional questions.

Q: My timeshare sold out to another company. Can this new company force us to buy into their program?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Answered on Nov 26, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
Unless your contract documents saying something to the contrary, the answer to this depends on if the new company has materially altered the terms of your prior agreement. Companies are generally allowed to increase maintenance fees, but only up to a reasonable amount (usually 2-5% per year). But I'd recommend having an attorney review the documents.

Q: I am a recent widow and have been left with debt that I cannot pay. I am seriously considering bankruptcy. My question

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy on
Answered on Nov 6, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
If the timeshare is your only debt, I recommend contacting the timeshare developer directly or through an attorney to offer it back to them in return for a discharge of the debt you owe. They frequently agree to this when I approach them on behalf of clients.

Q: Verbal business agreement to buy wood. Wood was not fully delivered and payment was made. The seller refused to deliver.

3 Answers | Asked in Business Law and Small Claims for Idaho on
Answered on Oct 29, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
Although you don't have a writing, it appears that you have evidence that a contract was entered. It will now be an issue of forcing delivery. Please contact an attorney if you need assistance.

Q: Which is State for rescinding a license to occupy a suite

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Contracts for Massachusetts on
Answered on Oct 13, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
It will depend on the contract you signed, but even if says something contrary, the state where the property is located will almost always also apply. However, there can be some confusion about this, and I wrote an article about this very issue with my local bar that you can read here: https://skidmorehales.com/article

Let me know if you have any questions.

Q: I need to ask for help with timeshare and timeshare exit companies help.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I'd be happy to help. I did write an article about timeshare exit companies that you can find here: https://skidmorehales.com/article

The short of it is that timeshare exit companies tend to be scams. They ask for money up front and do little to help timeshare owners. In fact, they cause great harm by triggering the owner's default on fees/loans, meaning that their credit scores often take a hit. But please let me know if you have a more specific question.

Q: How do I find out if my brother and I are named beneficiaries in our grandmas estate if my uncle won’t produce a will?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Kansas on
Answered on Sep 25, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I recommend retaining an attorney to communicate with your uncle if he continues to ignore your requests.

Q: my Husband and his ex wife own a joint title in a time share in Arizona. His ex wife says I have to sign off on it.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 25, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
If Arizona's community property laws are like ours here in Idaho, you shouldn't have to sign off on anything. If the ex does not want the timeshare anymore, she can sign it over to your husband, or she can take it. Based on my experience with timeshares, I'd recommend trying to give it to her, but please let me know if you have questions about the process or options to clean up the ownership.

Q: Can I sue an ex for not paying for a timeshare because my credit score has lowered even if only 2 payments were missed?

1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for New York on
Answered on Sep 11, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
It's possible, but title to timeshares are typically takes with both owners being joint and severally liable. Meaning that you are responsible to pay if he does not. I suppose that you could sue on equitable claims, but it may be difficult.

In these situations, clients have often hired me to make a deal with the other owner. I usually offer to give the timeshare to the ex or offer to take the timeshare off the ex's hands. Sometimes I've negotiated a price during these, but that will...

Q: I have a Retail Installment Credit Agreement for a travel membership. Can they sue me if I want to cancel? Can I cancel?

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for New York on
Answered on Sep 11, 2018
Michael Hales' answer
I would probably have to review the agreement, but in most cases, these can be cancelled by having an attorney contact the collection agency. Please let me know if you have any questions about this process.

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